Sunday, January 18, 2015

Portus Calle

This restaurant has been on my to go list for a while, especially since I went to Helena last year and was just amazed by the tasting menu. Sooooo when a benefactor gave me 250$ to 'enjoy good food and have fun' (heeeeeelllls yes!), I called Portus Calle right away.

I was going with my friend Rach, who was here on vacation from them Cayman Islands (lucky bastard), and she was pleased with my choice of resto.

We got a very pleasant welcome by the maitre-d' that showed us to our very lovely table close to the window. The place itself is quite big... lots of room at the bar and even more room in the brick walled dining room. Portuguese music was playing, which was a nice change from let's say a Mexican restaurant playing 95.9 (ok... I'm not aware of the radio stations here.... but let's just say I was happy it wasn't pop music!). It was very cozy and cute.

Since everything on the menu looked great, and we were about to order every damn thing on there, our waiter suggested the tasting menu for 55$ each. OH YES!
We started out with a glass of Porto, because hey, with that money in my pockets, we could! Ha! It wasn't too strong and went down well. If I had to, I'd have no difficulty drinking that all night! We wanted to have some vinho verde with our meal but the one we wanted was not available so we went with white wine.
Alrighty, fooooooooooood (enter drooling here). First was chorizo aioli (hello!), olives, olive oil, bread and tuna rillettes with daikon. Hum, yum! Tuna melted in your mouth but tasted a tad like it came out of a can, the aioli was damn wonderfully greatness and had just a touch of spiciness! The olives were great but the bread.... meh... it was a tad too dry for my taste. Ps: wine service was ITHQ worthy and perfectly executed.
Uh, hello tuna, is it me you're looking for? I really liked the plating on this one. Very modern and Picasso like (what? I dabble!). The crab salad was great and kind of sweet and had somewhat of a rice cracker to add some crunch. Breaded tuna looked like it was going to be a warm offering but alas, it was cold. Still yummy, but cold. The tuna tataki was melt-in-your-mouth good with a nice sesame crust and a wonderful tartar sauce. I could not have asked for more. Totally woke up my taste buds!
Ok, who knew warm tomatoes and goat cheese could be this good? It was a nice take on the bocconcini and tomato salad, but 100 times better. Flavours just popped right in my mouth. Man, this was good, yet so simple!
Cod cakes. I've had them before and I'll have them again... these were good but a tad too potato-y but I loved the sauce which was quite spicy.
OK, obviously this picture doesn't do it justice, but this octopus was WOW. Like, wow WOW! Fak! Perfect 'cuisson'. Puuuurrrrrrfect. Plus, the fried kale and the white beans were great with it. It's as if they were born together. Seriously. This was a good one.
Scallop with bacon 'chips' on top and lima bean puree with a cranberry and onion confit. OK, you guys know by now that's I'm a sucker for seafood but this was something else! The mix of flavours was to dssssiiiie for and the bacon chip? Well, I was aware that bacon could taste THAT good (yes, I'm aware it's freakin good!). Oh and that puree was so smooth and so tasty and well seasoned! Nothing bad to say about this at all.
You must also know that apart from lobster, shrimp is at the top of my list. Since the good old summer days in Maine when I was 6 and eating an actual PILE of shrimp, they have been my fave. They were garlicky spicy buttery unctuous goodness. Most importantly, perfectly cooked.
Pork cheek with aubergine puree. The veggies were cooked to perfection and the meat was so tender, so soft, melted in your mouth. It was perfection, basically.
Our desert. Well hello there, how you doin'? First off, the pasteis de nata was exactly like it was when I tasted it in Portugal about 3 years ago. Hoooooolly! The truffles were good and dsamn good: the chocolate one was good but a bit too fruity for my taste and the champagne one... well hello champagne! It was so airy and right on. The panacotta had some sap and herbs in there and made it absolutely delicious. The last desert on the right was such a nice surprise: many stories of fluffy egg whites and caramel. The whole desert plate was just didily damn good!
We had one last glass of porto to finish off the meal. What??? We were rich that night :) If we had known it was going to be 20$ a glass, I don't think we would have had it but hey, we were on vacation! It was even better than the first one.

Service was wonderful: great wine service as previously mentioned, we always had water in our glasses, plates were taken away and brought to our table in a timely fashion.

And now, the scores!

Food: 9
Service: 9.5

What a great experience! When I have the cash, I'm going back for sure!

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